Umeå Group for Premodern Studies together with the Research seminar series in history and history of ideas invites you to an open seminar with Racha Kirakosian, Associate Professor of German and the Study of Religion at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study. Kirakosian will speak on the topic of "The Corrupt Yet Beautiful Body of Mary Magdalene in Medieval Conversion Legends".
Mary Magdalene has always inspired legends: from the Middle Ages to today's pop culture, the story of a former prostitute turning pious has fascinated theologians, lay people and scholars alike. Her cult grew rapidly in the thirteenth century, leading to problems in medieval discourses on chastity, virginity and incorruption. What was the status of Mary Magdalene's once sexualized body after her conversion? How come she figured on the highest altar ranks next to Virgin Saints? And who was she anyway? My talk will address these questions by discussing a set of conversion legends which seem to undermine the official stance that the medieval Church held on Mary Magdalene.